Major League Cricket has permission to redevelop a former independent league baseball stadium near Dallas, making way for the second cricket stadium in the US. Once converted, the former AirHogs Stadium will become the home of USA Cricket, the governing body of cricket in the United States.
The renovated stadium will be ready for MLC’s inaugural six-team season, set for 2022. The stadium will host the Dallas team, as well as serve as a training facility for the US national teams. The facility could become especially valuable as rumors of cricket’s inclusion in the 2028 Olympics grow.
Dallas is No-Brainer for Cricket Hub
Currently, the only US ICC-certified cricket stadium is located in Lauderhill, Florida, although LA’s Leo Magnus Cricket Complex did once hold an ICC event. The Van Nuys complex played host to the 2016 ICC World Cricket League’s (WCL) Division Four Championship. With The Rolling Stone’s Mick Jagger in attendance, the US won the final that year.
Cricket has continued to grow in popularity across the US, but it’s particularly popular in the sports-friendly city of Dallas, Texas. San Francisco 49ers Executive and USA Cricket Chairman Paraag Marathe said,
“Based on the demographic research that we’ve done, there is a huge cricket, playing cricket watching cricket fan population within Texas, and specifically around the Dallas area.”
According to Willow TV, the pay-per-view provider for cricket in the US, Dallas is a top viewer region.
MLC plans to put $10 million toward the stadium. Grand Prairie has pledged to invest $1.3 million in the stadium and another $200,000 for maintenance. According to the Dallas Morning News, MLC will take on two 10-year leases, and pay $20,000 a month to use the stadium.
International Cricket Wary of New US Push
MLC’s pending debut is a source of concern internationally, and it’s not because the US is a threat. Currently, the US national men’s team is ranked 19th in the world. The women’s team has yet to be ranked. The concern has to do with poaching, and for good reason.
International players are currently being scouted for births in MCL franchises. In November, Sami Aslam announced he was leaving Pakistan for a three-year stint in the US. Meanwhile, Corey Anderson recently decided to ditch New Zealand for US cricket.
The Caribbean cricket market is especially concerned. The Trinidad and Tobago Knight Riders Group, owned by Bollywood star SRK, has partnered with American Cricket Enterprises to invest in the development of cricket in the US. If there are any doubts, the first thing you see on ACE’s homepage is a large message that says, “We’re Hiring.”